Written by Sue Hollywood

Sue is a Family Mediation Council Accredited Mediator and a Professional Practice Consultant.

Professional family mediators help you agree on arrangements for your children, home, finances and child support.  Perhaps you are divorcing, separating after living together, or you may not have lived together but you need to discuss a child’s living arrangements and support.

Mediation gives you more control over decisions than if you go to court.

When you cannot reach an agreement, but do not want the stress, cost, and time of going to court, family mediation can help. Mediation can provide a safe neutral venue for your discussions, and an independent mediator who will help you stay focused on the issues you have agreed need to be resolved.  The majority of people who start mediation reach their own negotiated settlement.

Family mediation is:

Quicker and cheaper that long court battles

Less stressful than court – with less conflict between you and your ex partner

Gives you more control over decisions than if you go to court

Easier emotionally for children when parent co-operate and work together

Mediation could be free if you are financial eligible for Legal Aid.  You do not need a solicitor to make a referral to mediation. See the Family Mediation Council website for more information.

What is a MIAM?

When you contact a mediation service you will be invited to attend a Mediation Information and Assessment Meeting (or MIAM for short) to talk about your situation and to decide, with the mediator, whether you wish to go forward to a mediation session with the other party.  The mediator will discuss costs at this session (including legal aid) and will explain the mediation process to you.  Mediation cannot begin until both MIAMs have taken place and you have agreed to meet the other person in mediation.

What if the other person does not want to mediate?

What if I do not wish to mediate?

What if our dispute is not suitable for mediation?

If you decide not to mediate and want to make an application to the court regarding children’s or financial issues, you must usually show that you have considered mediation, and  will require page 9 of either Children C100 or Finance Form A signed by a Family Mediation Council Accredited Mediator.  You need to make sure that the mediator you choose is Family Mediation Council Accredited as their FMC Registration number must go on the form.

Useful information sites






More information on court fees can be found on the gov.uk site or from your local Citizens Advice Bureau.


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